Southeastern recognized Milum Oswell “M.O.” Owens Jr.’s ministry, life and legacy by the endowment and installation of a New Testament Studies Chair in his name.
Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, announced David Alan Black, professor of New Testament and Greek, as the first recipient of the Dr. M.O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies.
After first giving thanks to Owens, Black emphasized that God is to be the one most glorified in this moment. Black said he hopes to glorify God after the example Owens has set in his ministry and life, but most notably, Black desired to be used by God through the Dr. M.O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies.
Owens was born in a small community in South Carolina on Sept. 4, 1913. He has pastored numerous churches during his 98 years of kingdom service, helped raise a large family, founded a Christian school and a pregnancy center, and published many significant works.
M.O. Owens Jr., Danny Akin and David Alan Black listen during a service April 26 announcing Black as the first recipient of the Dr. M.O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where Akin is president. Owens, 98, still preaches every Sunday at Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia where he is pastor emeritus.
After finishing high school, Owens went to Furman University in Greenville, S.C. While there, he sensed God calling him to be a pastor and enrolled in 1936 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
After graduation in 1939, he became pastor of First Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and later served in churches in Florida and Georgia. Under his leadership, they all thrived – most of them paying off long-time indebtedness, while others went through major renovations and repairs.
Owens became pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia, N.C., in March 1964. He served in that capacity until December of 1980. During that time, he was co-founder of Crisis Pregnancy Center of Gaston County. He also was founder of Gaston Christian Schools, which now has an enrollment of almost 1,000 students.
Akin noted in an article the high standards set by men like Owens. He said, “One way we encourage future generations of gospel-ready champions for King Jesus is by challenging them to learn from examples like that of M.O. Owens.”
Since retirement, Owens has been an interim pastor at 15 churches, including a year at an English-speaking Baptist church in Belgium.
Through the years, he has served the Gaston Baptist Association, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention in various capacities. Today, he is still going strong as pastor emeritus of Parkwood Baptist Church.
Southeastern has been raising finances to endow a chair in New Testament Studies in honor of Owens. The principle needed to fund and maintain the endowed chair is $1 million. This chair funds a professor of New Testament from Southeastern to teach young pastors to love and serve as Owens has exemplified in his life.
An endowment honors someone attached to the chair in his service to Christ. It honors an appropriate professor who embodies the honorary chair name. The endowed chair also invests into the seminary’s students by providing valuable resources as well as making tuition affordable.
During the commemorative chapel on April 26, Owens preached before the chapel attendees, which included Owens’ family, friends, and some of the Parkwood congregation.
Owens’ message was a reflection of his own ministry. At 98, Owens summoned for God’s people to “run” with the gospel.
From 2 Thessalonians 3, Owens reminded his audience that God is at work in preaching, in one’s perseverance for the gospel, and also, through one’s running in the gospel.
He said, “It is by preaching God’s Word that his kingdom flourishes.”